Snacks to Beer – kepta duona

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Kepta duona frying in a pan.In Lithua­nia, most bars serve a selec­tion of what they call “užkandži­ai prie alaus” – lit­er­al­ly, “snacks to beer”.

After a very nice tour of the coun­try a few years ago, we got into the habit of refer­ring to a whole range of pecu­liar foods you only ever eat with beer as “snacks to beer”.

This post is the first in occa­sion­al series on what we think are the very best nib­bles to accom­pa­ny booze. Expect to see pret­zels, pork scratch­ings and a Span­ish del­i­ca­cy we call “chick­en tik­ka fish” cov­ered in the future.

But for now, it’s only fit­ting that we start with the orig­i­nal snack to beer – Lithuan­ian “kep­ta duona”.

It’s not remote­ly fan­cy, it’s not good for you, but it’s a great snack to beer for sev­er­al rea­sons. First­ly, it’s salty and oily. Now, I know greasy is good is bad for your beer. It makes it go flat. But, frankly, who cares – it just works. Sec­ond­ly, you can eat it with your fin­gers. Third­ly, and per­haps most impor­tant­ly, it soaks up booze…

If you fan­cy mak­ing what is, in effect, slight­ly burned gar­lic fried bread, our best attempt at a recipe is after the jump…

We couldn’t find a recipe online so we made one up. But, I mean, how hard can it be to fry some bread? So, here goes with our best guess, which turned out pret­ty well.

Ingre­di­ents

- 1 small loaf of rye bread
– car­away seeds
– cook­ing oil
– 1–2 cloves of gar­lic
– salt

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1. Cut some rye bread into fin­gers (or “sol­diers” for those of you who like a dip­py egg). It’s easy to get rye bread in Lon­don now, because Pol­ish and Lithuan­ian migrants have estab­lished a demand. If you can’t get it, any dark brown bread – whole­meal, or maybe even some­thing with nuts in – should do the job.

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2. Rub each fin­ger with a crushed gar­lic clove. One clove will do ten or so fin­gers before it dis­in­te­grates in your fin­gers.

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3. Heat some oil in a pan. Get it smok­ing hot. You’ll want about four or five table­spoons for ten fin­gers of bread. We used olive oil, because we’re com­plete ponces, but I sus­pect the Lithua­ni­ans use pork drip­ping…

4. Sprin­kle in some car­away seeds – about half a tea­spoon. They’ll snap, crack­le and pop.

5. Lay the bread care­ful­ly in the oil and leave it on one side for 1–2 min­utes.

6. Turn it all over. It should almost be turn­ing black. Sprin­kle quite lib­er­al­ly with salt.

7. After anoth­er minute or so, tip the whole lot out onto a piece of kitchen tow­el to drain.

8. Serve on a small plate, with a big glass of fizzy lager. The pic­ture below hard­ly does it jus­tice – the smell is fan­tas­tic.

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If any­one wants to cor­rect our recipe, we’d be delight­ed to hear your sug­ges­tions. Also, why not let us know your favourite “snacks to beer”…?

21 thoughts on “Snacks to Beer – kepta duona”

  1. I was in Vil­nius and there’s a great tiny lit­tle restau­rant in down­town (near the town hall, left at the funky 4-way stat­ue, past the bar, past the graf­fi­ti, on the cor­ner) that served all kinds of tra­di­tion­al things. One was the fried bread.
    It came with a gar­licky sauce that was just too good to be real. I spent the lions share of my time in that bar and then fol­low­ing hordes of drunk­en lithua­ni­ans into that café.
    I sup­pose this sauce is made of the gar­lic used in prep and some may­on­naise, if you’re using car­away seeds, maybe some of the oil it was fried in could be emul­si­fied with some gar­lic, no?
    I defini­ete­ly sug­gest a trip to Vil­nius, if you haven’t been.

  2. Thanks for drop­ping by, Lan­donas. Yes, we went a few years ago, and loved it. In fact, there’s where we first tried KD. I’ll try the gar­lic mayo idea next time I make it.

  3. The tra­di­tion­al recipe is to first fry then rub with gar­lic and salt it. It can be half slices and it doesn’t have to be black burnt. Gar­lic sauce is nice, but some like it bet­ter with thick soft melt­ed cheese sauce.

    While Kep­ta duona is an every­day snack, every­one should try smoked pig’s ears. Nasty as it sounds, it looks good and it’s my absolute favorite snack to beer (or, Snack With Bear as I saw it once put in the Eng­lish menu trans­la­tion). Again it can be served in sev­er­al ways – such as a whole smoked, boiled and sticky ear with por­ridge as a dish, or the pre­ferred way – crisp, sliced and spicy, with some car­away seeds – as served in Avilys Ale House, both in Vil­nius and Kau­nas.

    As for oth­er coun­tries, I love the Naklad­ny Her­melin mar­i­nat­ed cheese and onion snack served in pivni­cas of Czech Repub­lik.

  4. I’m just com­ment­ing to say thanks. In Social Stud­ies I’m doing a project on Lithua­nia (since I lived there I got that asign­ment in class) as extra cred­it we could make a food from the cou ntry and bring it to the class.
    This helped me so much!

  5. The best way to have Kep­ta Duona is to mix may­on­naise and cheese and melt it on top of the fried bread. In most places in Lithua­nia, that is how it is served.

  6. As Ona stat­ed, you for­got that Kep­ta Duona is served with real may­on­naise and parme­san cheese, which is typ­i­cal­ly mixed and melt­ed over the fried bread or served in a sep­a­rate bowl for dip­ping. It is best to use Kosher salt and fresh gar­lic, but in any form, this beer snack is a gem for any­one who would like to com­pli­ment a Euro­pean beer. To stay true to the snack, it is best enjoyed with Svy­tu­rys Ekstra beer.

  7. dear Lithuan­ian peo­ple, or peo­ple who are not orig­i­nal­ly from Lithua­nia, but cur­rent­ly be present at the great land of Lithua­nia,

    we, peo­ple who’ve been there, and done it(tasting “the” Kep­ta Duona, the most deli­cious appe­tiz­er, i mean) are in a great hunger for this deli­cious dish. we know there’s bread involved, we know there’s gar­lic, cheese and may­on­naise involved. but we are not hun­dred per­cent sure about the dos­es of these del­i­ca­cies. how much may­on­naise should I use? should I fry the bread in olive oil or in some oth­er oil? should I also add the gar­lic in oil too? lat­er on should I put the breads and mayonnaise+cheese into oven? what kind of cheese should I use? or should I use sour cream(I don’t remem­ber the Lithuan­ian name for this, I know it’s a lit­tle dif­fer­ent from the sour cream) instead of may­on­naise?

    these ques­tions are still wait­ing to be answered -maybe by you cute Lithuan­ian girl, *wink*- very nice peo­ple of Lithua­nia. please help us.

  8. Some­thing about a per­son beg­ging for a recipe I just can’t ignore. 🙂
    This is quite a rough esti­mate, so feel free to exper­i­ment a bit with the quan­ti­ties.
    So, for half a loaf of bread, you’d want 2–3 cloves of gar­lic, ~100–150 grams of cheese, two-three table­spoons of mayo. Use the way of prepa­ra­tion as described above, though the pre­ferred oil is sun­flower oil (or linen seed oil, though that is quite a rar­i­ty). When you have the bread baked, grate the cheese and mix it with the mayo (if you want, you can add some gar­lic for taste). Then put the mix on top of the bread and pop it into the microwave for 1–2 min­utes. That’s it. Grab some tooth­picks (eas­i­est way to eat it with­out get­ting your hands all cheesy 🙂 ) and dig in. ? sveikat?! 🙂

  9. Hey all. I was just sit­ting here munch­ing fresh­ly made “kep­ta duona”, with a glass of some namib­ian beer. Tried to do a research on google for “favourite beer snacks of nations”. Unlucky.
    . There is one essen­tial mis­take in the recip­ie above: the bread must be fried first, and as it comes out from the fry­ing pan, it must be rubbed plen­ty with a piece of peeled gar­lic. Must rub it while bread is hot as well. That’s the secret. Don’t put any gar­lic in oil etc.

  10. I just returned from Lithua­nia and was men­tion­ing this fan­tas­tic snack to my boyfriend. He found your site and I was thrilled. They actu­al­ly have a gar­lic prod­uct made by Kraft that looks just like the mayo squirt bot­tle. I could see the grat­ed parme­san cheese that was mixed into this sauce and then spar­ing­ly squirt­ed onto the sticks of fried bread. The fried bread was was stacked with the fried bread slices arranged as if whole slices with the strips going in in oppo­site direc­tions with each slice -ver­ti­cle and hor­i­zon­tal. I can con­firm that the raw gar­lic cloves are rubbed on the fresh­ly fried hot bread. This stuff is sooo good!!

  11. hey there…

    a small cor­rec­tion… you need to rub gar­lic onto the bread after it is cooked and still hot :]

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